Hand lasted vs machine lasted

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Tidybeard, Feb 23, 2010.

  1. voxsartoria

    voxsartoria Goon member

    Messages:
    25,756
    Likes Received:
    117
    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2007
    Vox is a very good spokesman [​IMG]

    Spokesmodel.


    - B
     


  2. SkinnyGoomba

    SkinnyGoomba Senior member

    Messages:
    12,643
    Likes Received:
    1,709
    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2008
    Location:
    Princeton, NJ
    Having read the posts by DWFII, I'm now very conscious of things like exposed stitches on the soles of shoes. The more you know, the more you expect of your purchases...

    This Christmas I tried on a pair of the triple monk-strap shoes by Bontoni. The only maker that I am aware of who makes a triple-monk strap. The cost was a mere $3,000 plus 14% sales tax (I alas, am in Canada). I also tried on a few Attolini suits for $7,000 a pop. And the only thing I could think of was how - were I to spend that kind of money - I would prefer to have something made by Edwin DeBoise from Steed. Vox is a very good spokesman [​IMG]

    I'm in a profession which is paid by the hour - it is therfore a value proposition when retaining my services: will the benefit outweigh my cost? Usually, but not always, it does. I take the same approach when buying shoes. A well made shoe will last longer than a poorly made shoe. Amortized over the life of the shoe the cost for quality is probaly worth it. I am willing to pay for quality. But if I'm paying the cost - I want to know that the quality is as good as I can get. Gemming does not make the grade. Nor does fusing in a suit.

    Am I disappointed that certain high-end shoe manufactureres use inferior techniques? Well, I'm glad I learned that before laying my money down. But I'm more confident that when I find a maker who does not compromise on quality I will happily pay the price.


    At some point I think there is a negligible gain in longevity which comes at a large increase in cost.

    However benefit can be monetary and non-monetary. The benefit of a high quality shoe may also include a last that fits your foot well, maybe better then a less expensive shoe. In my case, and I'm sure many others on here we tend to climb the ladder of quality. Springing for higher quality now saves me the effort of replacing those things later.
     


  3. George

    George Senior member

    Messages:
    2,832
    Likes Received:
    8
    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2008
    Location:
    Lasciate ogne speranze voi qu'intrate
    With a hand made anything you are not paying just for quality(quality defined as fit for purpose) What you are paying for is that it is hand made which can be a costly buisness, especially if there is little or no division of labour. Most artisanal workshops are very inefficient. Adam Smith anyone?

    Also, what people forget or overlook through ignorance of manufacturing processes is that in some cases it takes skill to use a machine, they often need careful setting up by the operator. Ask any machinist or tool maker in a machine shop.

    In my view the argument that that it is justifiable to spend say $3000 as opposed to $100 on a pair of shoes purely on quality grounds is silly.
     


  4. bigbris1

    bigbris1 Senior member

    Messages:
    7,345
    Likes Received:
    8
    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2007
    Location:
    Opulence
    Would someone link me to where "gemming" made it's debut here?

    Thx
     


  5. upnorth

    upnorth Senior member

    Messages:
    1,503
    Likes Received:
    9
    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2007
    Probably Jan 08, here. As mentioned by none other than my wallet's new best friend.
     


  6. bigbris1

    bigbris1 Senior member

    Messages:
    7,345
    Likes Received:
    8
    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2007
    Location:
    Opulence


  7. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

    Messages:
    8,329
    Likes Received:
    2,950
    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2008
    Location:
    The Highlands of Central Oregon
    I got to thinking about Bengal-Stripe's comment about quality being a sum of parts....and my response that some parts of the equation might not be a positive number. Especially in the context of Style Forum and the issue of, and focus on, quality, I think it is reasonable to assign a starting value of zero to a leather shoe made with a moderately good quality leather insole.This is at least the historical standard and I suspect that even the most obdurate apologist would shudder to think they just spent $600.00 on a shoe with a fiberboard insole. It follows then that a fiberboard insole would necessarily be a minus one. Gemming would be a minus one; and hand welted a plus one. Historically and functionally this makes sense because gemming...and fiberboard, etc....are attempts to emulate leather insoles and handwelted construction without the labour or materials cost. In every case, without exception, the implementation of these techniques came about as a result of the impulse to avoid the cost of quality materials, complicated and exacting techniques, and and to eliminate highly skilled workers. It bears repeating...until the implications are understood...none of these techniques or materials were chosen because they resulted in a better shoe. None...period. So...I would suggest that a handwelted shoe with a good quality leather insole executed by a competent shoemaker would accrue three points--one for the quality of the insole, one for the handwelting and one for the workmanship in welting. A gemmed shoe garners a minus one right away for gemming, another minus one if the insole is fiberboard and a goose egg for machine welting. If the handwelted shoe uses good quality leather for the upper and is assembled with a certain finesse...+ 2. An additional point for midliners and a leather toe stiffener. And we assume that if the maker has gone to this extent he's not gonna debase the shoe with a celastic heel stiffener. Minus one point if he resorts to celastic for the toe. If the gemmed shoe uses good quality upper leather and is sewn and assembled nicely..+2. If the gemmed shoe has a celastic toe box (high probability) minus one and if it has a celastic heel stiffener another debit. No points for a midliner...the probability is that a gemmed shoe wouldn't have any. Now you can jockey this around however you want but if you accept the historic and functional predicates, the best a gemmed shoe can come out to is about plus one. Whereas even a mundane handmade shoe will bottom out around plus four. How many points is reasonable to assign to sub-par quality? "Adequate" quality? Exceptional quality?
     


  8. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

    Messages:
    8,329
    Likes Received:
    2,950
    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2008
    Location:
    The Highlands of Central Oregon
    With a hand made anything you are not paying just for quality(quality defined as fit for purpose) What you are paying for is that it is hand made which can be a costly buisness, especially if there is little or no division of labour. Most artisanal workshops are very inefficient. Adam Smith anyone? Also, what people forget or overlook through ignorance of manufacturing processes is that in some cases it takes skill to use a machine, they often need careful setting up by the operator. Ask any machinist or tool maker in a machine shop. In my view the argument that that it is justifiable to spend say $3000 as opposed to $100 on a pair of shoes purely on quality grounds is silly.
    Running a machine in a shoe factory may take a certain skill but it pales in comparison to the skill it takes to do the same job by hand...that's the reason the machine is there to begin with. It doesn't require years of experience and training, it simplifies and dumbs down a job and in doing so speeds up the procedure, and the machine itself doesn't join unions or protest ill treatment or expect a pension when it is replaced or retired. It stands to reason, if you think it through...if your great grandfather paid $100.00 for a top shelf shoe in 1920, for you to pay the same amount today necessitates a diminution of quality.
     


  9. upnorth

    upnorth Senior member

    Messages:
    1,503
    Likes Received:
    9
    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2007
    Going by your points method of assignment, what shoes/ brand would you say are still in the positive territory?
     


  10. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

    Messages:
    8,329
    Likes Received:
    2,950
    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2008
    Location:
    The Highlands of Central Oregon
    Going by your points method of assignment, what shoes/ brand would you say are still in the positive territory?
    Well, let me just note that nothing I said is written in stone...it was just a thought exercise. If you cannot afford a $1000.00 bench-made shoe, you may feel that three or four points should be added (or subtracted) depending on the price. People who buy...even prefer...and especially apologize for, $100.00 shoes know, at some gut level, that what they are getting is sub-par. They have to...or they are in denial. Of course, it's all relative and none of that has anything to do with "quality"...and "quality" was the whole point of the exercise. I'm not recommending brands or even talking about brands in particular. I'm just talking about the relative merits of construction specifically and, more generally, the philosophies that the concept of "quality" is, and must be, predicated on. To come back to your question, however...the best I can offer is to say that I think that gemming and fiberboard insoles and celastic toe stiffeners and nails in the heel seat and machine lasting are debasements of the shoe and the concept of quality in shoes. That's my opinion. It is not without foundation. If a hand-made, bespoke shoe is not in the offing, however, then I would suggest folks look at Fairstitched (Blake/Rapid)...provided that a moderate to good quality insole is the foundation. Structurally, Fairstitched is at least as good a quality as hand-welted....provided a moderate to good quality insole is the foundation. Probably, given historic and structural antecedents, $1000.00 or there abouts will get you the kind of quality that is touted as the putative ideal here on StyleForum. That said, I'm speculating.
     


  11. Manton

    Manton RINO Dubiously Honored

    Messages:
    41,574
    Likes Received:
    2,814
    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2002
    Location:
    In Hiding
    What is this thread about? If no one can explain that, can you at least tell me if I have to throw out all my shoes?
     


  12. upnorth

    upnorth Senior member

    Messages:
    1,503
    Likes Received:
    9
    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2007
    DWFII, what is your opinion of using an aftermarket inserts/ insole on top of original insole, as a means to preserve or prolong the life of a shoe since many shoes cannot be recrafted satisfactorily once the original insoles are worn out or damaged.
     


  13. bigbris1

    bigbris1 Senior member

    Messages:
    7,345
    Likes Received:
    8
    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2007
    Location:
    Opulence
    What is this thread about? If no one can explain that, can you at least tell me if I have to throw out all my shoes?

    DFW is trying to convert us to boots. Cowboy boots.
     


  14. Pezzaturra

    Pezzaturra Senior member

    Messages:
    1,616
    Likes Received:
    1
    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2009
    Location:
    United States of Albania
    Is there any true advantage to a completely hand-lasted shoe (every nail pounded in by the cordwainer) versus having a machine stretch the leather over the last?
    Offset cone last could be used . They provide better fit as they trace the shape of the foot more naturally. (I learned it here:http://www.styleforum.net/showthread.php?t=148958). Machine lasting requires uniform straight cone last.
     


  15. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

    Messages:
    8,329
    Likes Received:
    2,950
    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2008
    Location:
    The Highlands of Central Oregon
    DWFII, what is your opinion of using an aftermarket inserts/ insole on top of original insole, as a means to preserve or prolong the life of a shoe since many shoes cannot be recrafted satisfactorily once the original insoles are worn out or damaged.
    First, if you can get an after-market insole into your shoe without feeling cramped, the shoe didn't fit you in the first place. Second, you may get more wear out of a shoe by inserting a sock or insole but you're not prolonging the life of the shoe--it's already dead or dying. Replacing the insole is the only way to revive or prolong the life of the shoe. Third, as has been mentioned here especially in regards to gemmed shoes, the insole is replaced by default when the shoe is sent back to the factory for "re-crafting." If the uppers are so deteriorated that the insole cannot be replaced reasonably or economically, then the shoe is done. The same points can be made for a hand-welted shoe. But I am not sure what is, or can be done on a Fairstitched shoe...probably much the same.
     


Share This Page

Styleforum is proudly sponsored by